African Farmer game walkthrough


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Walkthrough guide to the African Farmer game.

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African Farmer game walkthrough

  2. 2. USING THIS DOCUMENT • The Contents slide (next) links to the initial slide of the various sections in the guide. • Clicking the stage elements in the game flow chart will navigate to slides providing more information. • Each slide has buttons in the lower right hand corner which navigate to the Contents and Flowchart slides.
  3. 3. Farming CONTENTS Game Help Nutrition & Health Finance Game VersionsIntroduction Game Flow User Interface Project Information Trading Flowchart
  4. 4. Flowchart Contents INTRODUCTION The life of a small scale sub-Saharan African farmer is characterised by uncertainty. The vagaries of weather, crop pests and other chance events, coupled with unpredictability in market supplies and prices create an environment in which decision- making is complex and challenging. The goal of the African Farmer Game is to give players some sense of the experience of these farmers.
  5. 5. Flowchart Contents LEARNING CONTEXT • The African Farmer Game is one element in a learning process. • Educators can prime players on key issues in the pre- game introduction. • The post-game debriefing, where players’ experiences are explored and issues encountered in the game discussed, is an essential part of the learning process. • Follow-on work can link the players’ experience in the game with the actual lived reality of small scale African farmers.
  6. 6. Flowchart Contents ANTECEDENTS African Farmer develops ideas from the educational board games Green Revolution and Africulture. • Green Revolution, developed in the 1970s by Graham Chapman and Liz Dowler simulated the experience of rice growers in Bihar. • Exaction, which extended Green Revolution to include international trade, was developed in the 1980s by Graham Chapman and Isabelle Tsakok. • Africulture, which explored the dynamics of gender in agricultural communities, was developed in the 1990s by Graham Chapman, Janice Jiggins and Henk de Zeeuw.
  7. 7. Flowchart Contents GAME OVERVIEW Players are given responsibility for a farming household comprised of a number of adult, child and infant characters. Players must feed their household, educate their children and manage a small farm. They can buy crops and other goods at the market and trade goods and labour with other households. They must respond to crop hazards and other chance events and provide their households with a balanced diet from food they have grown or purchased at the market.
  8. 8. Flowchart Contents UNCERTAINTY The game puts players in ‘realistic’ scenarios that demand decision-making in the light of limited resources, uncertain knowledge and chance events. • The weather is not known until all the farming decisions for a season have been made. • Crop hazards are an ever-present possibility. • Chance events (good and bad) may disrupt plans. • Market prices may vary, depending on community harvest yields and other factors. • The possibility of illness and death increases for individuals on poor diets.
  9. 9. Flowchart Contents PLAYERS’ GOALS Players must decide how to prioritise the various goals set out in the game: • Agricultural - successfully manage and develop the farm. • Educational - provide children with a good education. • Social – foster co-operation, strengthen relationships and increase social standing by helping neighbours. • Financial – increase the net worth of the household by farming or trading. A balance must be struck which enables players to achieve their chosen goals without taking undue risks or jeopardising relationships with the community.
  10. 10. Flowchart Contents GAME VERSIONS Single Player and multiplayer versions of African Farmer are under development. The multiplayer version is run by a game manager and can be played by groups of up to 30 or more. It can give participants a powerful collective learning experience. The single player version provides individuals and institutions a readily accessible version of the game. It can be used by institutions where there are barriers to the use of the multiplayer game or by individuals for whom participation in a multiplayer game is problematic. Note that there may be some variation in the features supported by each version of the game.
  11. 11. Flowchart Contents MULTIPLAYER GAME • The multiplayer game is played by 12 - 30 players, with each household managed by 1 - 3 players. • Interaction with other households is through the game’s communications panel or face-to-face if all players are located in the same room. • The game is run by a game manager using a customized interface. • The game manger controls game flow and runs the market and bank. • The game manager can monitor players’ progress and has several “in-game” interventions available to covertly help a household if it seems appropriate.
  12. 12. Flowchart Contents SINGLE PLAYER GAME • In the single player game the player interacts with computer agents that manage the other farming households. • Interaction is via a simplified communications panel. • The player moves the game forward by clicking an advance button on the user interface. • The market and bank are run by the computer. • Various aspects of the game can be configured as required e.g. supported crops, nutrition models, post- harvest losses, climate change and help options.
  13. 13. Flowchart Contents FARM CROPS African Farmer supports a number of stylised crops: • Local maize – an inexpensive, low-yield variety. • High-yield maize – can give high yields when used with fertilizers. • Drought tolerant maize – copes well with low rainfall. • Beans – a good source of protein. • Mixed Horticulture – a good source of vitamins, also a cash crop. • Cotton – a cash crop. • Cassava and Sorghum – inexpensive sources of carbohydrate.
  14. 14. Flowchart Contents FARMING INPUTS Various inputs can be purchased at the market to promote crop growth and treat crop hazards: • Manure and NPK component fertilizers can be purchased. • Pesticide, fungicide and agriphage can be used to treat crop hazards. • Herbicides can be used as an alternative to weeding.
  15. 15. Flowchart Contents CROP YIELDS • Crops planted in Early Rains typically produce higher yields than late planted crops. • Manure and NPK Fertilizers can be used to improve yields. • Hybrid crop varieties, when used with fertilizers can give the highest yields. • Poor rains or drought significantly reduce yields. • Failure to weed fields can reduce yields by up to 50%. • Crop pests reduce yields though the losses can often be mitigated by spraying.
  16. 16. Flowchart Contents CROP HAZARDS • Crop hazards may occur in Main Rains for early planted crops and Early Harvest for late planted crops. • Crop hazards (e.g. bean rust, fusarium wilt) are crop- specific. • Players are warned of hazards by on-screen messages and hazard icons on the affected fields. • Information on the potential crop loss, possible mitigation and mitigated loss is given in the farm screen information panel.
  17. 17. Flowchart Contents SEASONS • The farming year is divided into four seasons - Early Rains, Main Rains, Early Harvest and Late Harvest. • The calendar indicates the current year, season and game stage. • Crops can be planted in Early Rains (early planting) or Main Rains (late planting). This can help spread the risks of adverse weather and pests and enable players to better manage labour resources.
  18. 18. Flowchart Contents WEATHER • The weather is announced at the end of each season. • The calendar, located at the top of the screen, displays icons showing the weather for past seasons in the current cycle. • Weather conditions include rains, poor rains, no rain and storms. • The single player game includes a climate change option which sets weather probabilities to reflect the predicted effects of climate change, with an increased possibility of prolonged periods of drought and the occurrence of extreme weather.
  19. 19. Flowchart Contents TRADING • At the market players can buy and sell inputs, food and other assets (e.g. spray kits, storage granaries). Land can be bought, sold or leased. Labour and animal traction is also available for hire. • In the multiplayer game, market stocks and prices are set by the game manager. In the single player game market prices will vary with the communal harvest yields. • Chance events may also directly affect market prices and stocks. • Players can trade with other households – for cash, goods or services or simply to strengthen social bonds.
  20. 20. Flowchart Contents FINANCE • Households are given varying amounts of cash at the start of the game. • Players can apply for loans at the bank. In the multiplayer game loan decisions are made by the game manager. In the single player game loans are granted on the basis of a credit check. • Loan repayments, medical fees and funeral expenses are repaid at the bank. • In the multiplayer game, the game manger decides what action to take if debts are not repaid on time. In the single player game, assets are seized to recover debts.
  21. 21. Flowchart Contents NUTRITION AND HEALTH • Household members require a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrate and vitamins to remain healthy. • Persons given poor diets are more likely to become ill and may die. Persons given very poor diets will die from malnutrition. • Persons who become ill cannot do any work and will remain unwell until medical fees are paid. • Persons who contract HIV incur medical expenses each year. • When a person dies, funeral expenses are incurred, which increase with the age of the deceased.
  22. 22. Flowchart Contents DIET LEVELS • The quality of diet depends on both the quantity and variety of selected foods. • Male adults require the largest quantity of food to remain healthy, women and children can survive on smaller amounts. • The best quality “A-Level” diet requires a good quantity of food from sources that provide a balance of protein, carbohydrate and vitamins. • Anyone given a diet poorer than “C-level” will die from malnutrition. • The single player game supports several nutrition models.
  23. 23. Flowchart Contents HEALTH HAZARDS • In the multiplayer game, health hazards are announced after food allocation. In the single player game, health hazards may occur at any time. • Persons on an A-level diet are not susceptible to nutrition-related illness. • Persons on an B-level diet have some risk of nutrition-related illness. • Persons on an C-level diet are at significant risk of nutrition-related illness. Death is a possibility. • In the single player game, all characters have a chance of contracting HIV.
  24. 24. GAME FLOW (single player) Contents Chance Events Health Hazards Task Allocation Weather Report Task Allocation Weather Report Early Rains Main Rains Early Harvest Market Trading Season Processes End Game Nutrition Report Food Allocation Births & Ageing Crop Hazards Early RainsPost-harvest Losses Customization Late Harvest
  25. 25. GAME FLOW (multiplayer) Contents Task Allocation Weather Report Crop Hazards Stage Notification Task Allocation Weather Report Stage Notification Early Rains Main Rains Early Harvest Late Harvest Market Trading Season Processes End Game Health Check Births & Ageing Stage Notification Food Allocation Stage Notification Stage Notification
  26. 26. Flowchart Contents MARKET TRADING • The market is open for trading at any time, though there is a formal trading session at the start of year 1. • Players can choose to trade at the market or with other households. The players themselves must resolve any disagreements that arise in inter- household trading. • Market prices can be volatile, so players must think about when to buy and sell goods.
  27. 27. Flowchart Contents TASK ALLOCATION • Players allocate labour and resources for household and farming tasks (see task list). • Children older than five years can carry out one domestic task or go to school. • Adults can carry out two domestic or farming tasks. • Manual weeding and field clearing/planting (without animal traction) each require 2 tasks. • Labour can be assigned to other households for domestic chores or farm work. • In Early Rains adults can be sent to town for the year. Depending on their education level and luck, they may return with saved earnings.
  28. 28. Flowchart Contents TASK LIST • Domestic tasks (cooking, fetching fuel & water) are mandatory and must be carried out each season. • Farming tasks are seasonal and include: • Field clearing/crop planting (early & main rains) • Manual Weeding (main rains & early harvest) • Manuring (before or during planting) • Fertilizing (in middle growth season) • Spraying (main rains & early harvest) • Harvesting (early & late harvest) • Town Work (early rains - full year commitment)
  29. 29. Flowchart Contents POST-HARVEST LOSSES • Crops not properly stored will suffer post-harvest losses of around 30%. • Granary stores can be purchased at the market to protect players against these losses. • Post-harvest losses are calculated at the end of Early Rains.
  30. 30. Flowchart Contents FOOD ALLOCATION • After harvest, food must be allocated to household members. • Players can create individual diets in the diet creation screen by dragging food elements from the side panel on to the plate. • The food allocation screen allows players to allocate diets or individual food portions to the household. • The food allocation screen has selectable overview and detail views to make the process easier.
  31. 31. Flowchart Contents BIRTHS & AGEING • At the end of each cycle, all characters age by 1 year. • Infants become children at age five and can take on domestic chores or go to school. • Children become young adults at 13 and can work in the fields. • All healthy females over 13 years of age have the possibility of having a child.
  32. 32. Flowchart Contents CHANCE EVENTS Chance Events that disrupt the normal seasonal rhythm may occur at any time in the year. e.g. • A traffic accident causing serious injury or death to a household member. • A household receiving a money order from a relative working in town. • A government subsidy reducing the market price of hybrid crop seeds. • A transport breakdown causing supply problems at market.
  33. 33. Flowchart Contents USER INTERFACE The user interface is built around the key aspects of the farmers’ lives: • Household - where players check household assets and health, manage nutrition and allocate tasks. • Farm - here players monitor crops and allocate tasks. • Village - where players gather information and trade with other households. • Market - the place to buy and sell goods & services. • Bank - for loan applications and debt repayments. There is also a statistics screen where players can review the game when play has ended.
  34. 34. Flowchart Contents HOUSEHOLD In the household screen, players can view the following information: • Each member’s age, gender, health, location (if in town or hospital) • A list of deceased household members • Household assets and debts They can also access the customization screen for naming household members and selecting avatars, the task allocation screen and screens for managing household nutrition.
  35. 35. Flowchart Contents HOUSEHOLD SCREEN
  36. 36. Flowchart Contents CUSTOMIZATION SCREEN
  37. 37. Flowchart Contents DIET CREATION SCREEN
  38. 38. Flowchart Contents FOOD ALLOCATION (overview)
  39. 39. Flowchart Contents FOOD ALLOCATION (detail)
  40. 40. Flowchart Contents FARM • In the Farm Screen players can monitor the health of their crops and check for the occurrence of crop pests and other crop hazards. • Field icons indicate the occurrence of crop hazards and the application of manure, NPK fertilizer and crop sprays. • The information panel displays data on each field, including weather, weed and hazard losses and also gives the maximum projected crop yield.
  41. 41. Flowchart Contents FARM SCREEN
  42. 42. Flowchart Contents TASK ALLOCATION SCREEN
  43. 43. Flowchart Contents VILLAGE • The village screen gives players an overview of all households in the village. • Public information on a household (e.g. household and farm sizes, crops planted) can be seen by clicking on the household’s hut. • Players can commend or censure other players for help given or refused. • From here players can access the asset transfer screen to transfer goods to other households as part of a trade or loan agreement.
  44. 44. Flowchart Contents VILLAGE SCREEN
  45. 45. Flowchart Contents ASSET TRANSFER SCREEN
  46. 46. Flowchart Contents MARKET • The market screen is where players access the market to buy and sell goods and services, check market stocks and prices and review their assets. • Radio buttons select market categories for display (all, inputs, food, other). • Clicking on an asset in the selection panel will give a brief description of the product, display market buy and sell prices and list current stocks.
  47. 47. Flowchart Contents MARKET SCREEN
  48. 48. Flowchart Contents BANK • The bank screen gives players access to financial services. • Clicking the pay button will display a list of outstanding debts for payment. • The loan button is used to apply for a loan. Several loan amounts and terms are available for selection. • Clicking the statement button displays the player’s bank balance.
  49. 49. Flowchart Contents BANK SCREEN
  50. 50. Flowchart Contents STATISTICS • The statistics screen, where players can review statistical data from the game, is available in the single player game. • During the game, data on the player’s household composition, assets and nutrition & health can be viewed. Historical market price data and weather records are also available. • When the game is finished the statistical data for all households is available for review.
  51. 51. Flowchart Contents STATISTICS SCREEN
  52. 52. Flowchart Contents COMMUNICATION • In the multiplayer game, communication is facilitated by a dedicated panel in the lower part of the user interface. • Players can chat with any players in the same game view. These conversations are public. • Players can also privately phone or text other players. • The Game Manager can broadcast messages to all players via the news ticker at the bottom of the screen. • The single player game uses a simpler interface for interaction.
  53. 53. Flowchart Contents GAME HELP The single player game has an integrated help system which includes the following features: • Screen Help, which explains current screen functions, is accessed by clicking the help button. • Stage Help, which details the required player actions for the current game stage, is accessed by clicking the calendar stage display. • Button mouseovers can display help text when the cursor is moved over navigation or function buttons. • Warnings can be displayed if a player attempts to move to the next stage before essential tasks have been completed.
  54. 54. Flowchart Contents PROJECT INFORMATION African Farmer is developed by a team from the University of Sussex and Future Agricultures. Dr John Thompson from the Institute of Development Studies is the Project Coordinator; game development is being carried out by Ellie Martin and Jim Jackson at the School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, under the leadership of Dr Judith Good. The project is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development through a grant to the Future Agricultures Consortium, with additional support from the United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through a grant to the STEPS Centre.
  55. 55. Flowchart Contents LINKS • African Farmer Game • Future Agricultures Consortium • Institute of Development Studies • Informatics Department, University of Sussex • STEPS Centre • Department for International Development • Economic and Social Research Council